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RAFT Reimagined: Accessibility, Inclusion, and Creative Expression in Any Classroom

Updated: Jun 5

One of my all time favorite activities to do with students is a R.A.F.T. It stands for:

  • Role: From whose perspective are you writing/creating?

  • Audience: To whom are you communicating?

  • Format: What format will you present your information?

  • Topic: About what topic will you be writing or creating?

An elementary example of a RAFT activity might be:

  • Role: Water droplet

  • Audience: Elementary students

  • Format: Diary entry

  • Topic: Journey through the water cycle

Assignment:

Imagine you are a water droplet going through the water cycle. Write a diary entry for one day in your journey. Describe your experiences as you evaporate from the ocean, condense into a cloud, and finally precipitate back to Earth. Be sure to mention how you feel during these changes and what you see around you.

A middle/high school example of a RAFT activity might be:

  • Role: Newspaper reporter

  • Audience: Readers in the 1960s

  • Format: Newspaper article

  • Topic: Cover the March on Washington

Assignment:

You are a newspaper reporter in the 1960s. Write a newspaper article covering the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Include details about the key speakers, the number of participants, the demands being made, and the atmosphere of the event. Be sure to reflect the historical context and the significance of this event in your article.



 

As you can see, RAFT activities are extremely versatile, and can fit into any subject area in any grade level!  RAFT activities not only enhance the learning experience by making it more engaging and relevant but also promote an inclusive atmosphere that acknowledges and values each student's unique contributions. For example, students have the opportunity to take on different roles that appeal to them, and they can choose topics and formats that they are familiar with. By allowing for choice on audience, students are able to develop a better sense of empathy while tailoring their communication style and word choice to fit their audience.


RAFT activities are beneficial for many reasons. First, they allow for easy differentiation and have the added, built-in bonus of providing choice and voice to your students. All three of these increase buy-in, engagement, and motivation in students. Secondly, these activities provide a great opportunity for creativity and critical thinking. Students have to put themselves in various roles in order to communicate with specific audiences. This means that they must choose their words, tone, and format so that their message will be easily received by their target audience. Additionally, RAFT activities can be used in any grade level and for any subject. Cross-curricular learning for the win!


Although originally used as a writing strategy, technology has opened up many new avenues for format. Students can choose to record video or audio using Flip, they can create digital posters and guides using Canva, and they can design whole websites using Google Sites. The possibilities are endless and free artificial intelligence tools can stretch our creativity even further. 

There are many different ways to present a RAFT activity to your students. Some options are:

  1. Provide task cards to students with predetermined RAFTs,

  2. Provide a list of each RAFT and students can choose the combination that most appeals to them,

  3. Use a Google Sheet that magically generates a RAFT based on a provided list of options.

Here is a sample RAFT activity I created using a Google Spreadsheet and an INDEX formula.



When it comes to assessment and feedback, I feel like a rubric would be the most valuable tool for RAFT activities. Rubrics can be created generically or based on the specific topic that the students are discussing. You can use an AI tool like MagicSchool AI to help you get started with drafting a rubric for your RAFT activity. Just be careful that you are generating a learning rubric over a product rubric. We want to know what the students have learned, not how pretty their product can be.


I hope that I have convinced you to try a RAFT activity with your students! As a gift for reading this post, here is a super hero themed Magic RAFT Generator. I hope you and your students enjoy this!  To help you get started creating your own, I have created an easy to use Magic RAFT Generator Template. It comes with a 11 page user guide, a Magic Generator based on your own curated lists of options, as well as Assignment Frames. Check it out in my TpT store.


What are your thoughts on this versatile strategy. I'd love to hear your feedback, so leave me a comment below!


Title and images created in collaboration with AI using ChatGPT and Ideogram.ai, respectively. All other content was created by the author.

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